Soon we’ll know if March is going to come in like a lamb and go out like a lion or vice versa. On the 2nd of February, Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter, so far his prediction seems accurate – we’ll see. If temperatures do start to rise and plants sprout, you can begin to remove some of the protective covering, be it leaves or mulch. Be careful, some hard freezes are still possible.
Make a Twig Teepee
However, should the weather remain inhospitable, a fun project while waiting for the weather to become more civilized is to build a twig teepee. P. Allen Smith, gardening, food and lifestyle expert suggests that twig teepees, easy to make, can add interest and function to the backyard garden. Twig teepees are also attractive when placed in clay pots to support a climbing vine or plant. The most important things needed are three upright sturdy branches, approximately 6 to 8 feet long. If your property has trees, I’m sure there are plenty of branches on the ground after this winter. I know I won’t have a problem! What else is needed?
Copper wire or twine
Needle Nose pliers, if using wire
Smaller branches to create 6 or more “X” shaped supports
Start with the 3 long branches. Determine their length by how tall you would like the teepee to be. Allow 6 – 8 inches to be pushed in the ground. Branches measuring six to eight feet is probably a good length..
Gather the 3 branches at the top and tie them in place with a piece of copper wire or twine. Copper will last longer. Use pliers to twist and secure the metal. Tuck excess underneath for safety.
When the ground warms, place the teepee outside and push the three ends into the soil 6-8”deep.
Position legs far enough apart to make them sturdy, but equal distance from one another.
Use the “X” shaped supports and connect them across to the supporting poles with the wire.
The teepees can stand alone in the garden for structural interest or they can be used to support climbing vines or even green beans.
Twig teepees can be a fun project for all members of the family and a great way to spark an interest in gardening.
As New Englanders we can all agree with Mark Twain who wrote, “In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours”.
Marion Rizzo is former president of the Garden Club of Orange.